Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Over 500 Grams of Fentanyl

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fentanyl, heroin drugs

Baltimore, Maryland – John Cooley, age 20, of Nottingham, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.   

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Baltimore City Sheriff John W. Anderson, and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, from October 2020 to March 2021, Cooley was engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving the trafficking of large amounts of fentanyl and other controlled substances.  Cooley and his co-conspirators operated out of a stash house in Pikesville, Maryland.  There, Cooley and his co-conspirators would process fentanyl and other controlled substances, mix it with cutting agents and package the drugs for re-sale.

As stated in his plea agreement, on March 1, 2021, law enforcement saw Cooley exit the Pikesville, Maryland stash house with a co-conspirator.  At the time, Cooley was carrying a bag containing narcotics.  Cooley and his co-conspirator then entered a vehicle and drove away.  Law enforcement followed the vehicle to a drug store parking lot where Cooley and his co-conspirator were about to conduct a drug transaction. 

Subsequently, law enforcement conducted a search of the vehicle and Cooley’s person.  As a result of the search, officers recovered 20 separate plastic bags, each containing 50 gel fentanyl capsules.  In total, Cooley possessed 569 grams of fentanyl. 

Cooley and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Cooley will be sentenced to five years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for March 24, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the Maryland State Police, the Baltimore City Sherriff’s Office, and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Medinger, who is prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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